Bloomsbury is to publish its own French-language translation of Coup de foudre, nouvelle, a fiction inspired by the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexual assault scandal, as French publishers elected to turn down translation rights to the book.
Following "overwhelmingly positive" reviews of the English-language edition of Coup de foudre: A Novella and Stories by American author and journalist, Ken Kalfus, Bloomsbury will release a French translation of the first novella from the collection, Coup de foudre, novella, as an e-book exclusive "to see if the story takes off" in France and other French speaking countries such as Canada and Belgium.
After French publishers turned down translation rights to the book, Bloomsbury elected to publish its own French-language translation of the title as it "felt very strongly" that the book should be available in France.
Stephanie Duncan, digital media director at Bloomsbury, said: “We felt so strongly that Ken Kalfus’s novella, Coup de foudre, novella, deserved to reach a French speaking audience that we cleared the rights and published in French. We hope that the provocative nature of this short story will appeal to French readers to drive sales in both languages worldwide.”
Coup de foudre, novella is a fictional letter of apology written by former president of the International Monetary Fund, Strauss-Kahn, to the New York Sofitel housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo. Strauss-Kahn was accused of sexually assaulting Diallo in a New York hotel in 2011.
According to the publisher, the novella "tells the story of a powerful, clever, successful man at the epicentre of international politics and finance, a man on the brink of meeting one of the most powerful women of the world, Angela Merkel, to address the European debt crisis; who attacked one of the least powerful women in the world, an illegal immigrant with a menial job. It’s the story of a man on the brink of becoming the president of France, who felt invincible and found that he wasn’t."
The publisher added: "Coup de foudre, nouvelle is a provocative, sometimes farcical, ultimately tragic story about how the powerful prey on the weak, the rich on the poor. How smart men can be stupid. How the same impulse that drives men to be risk takers taking them to the top of their profession, can lead them to take unnecessary risks leading to their downfall."
Strauss-Kahn was arrested in May 2011 after being accused of sexual assault and attempted rape by Diallo at a hotel in Manhattan. Following his arrest, Strauss-Kahn resigned from his post at the IMF. Criminal charges were later dropped by prosecutors due to Diallo’s lack of credibility, but Strauss-Kahn settled a civil suit out of court in December 2012.
The novella first appeared in Harper’s Magazine in April 2014, and then was published in short story collection Coup de Foudre, A Novella and Short Stories by Bloomsbury USA. It was first published in the UK in June 2015.
Coup de foudre, nouvelle, translated into French by Nathaniel Dennett, will be available as an e-book exclusive from all e-book retailers from tomorrow (12th January). It will be Bloomsbury's first French-language e-book.